Each year, IDSA recognizes exceptional student design talent through our Graduate Student Merit Awards program. The competition highlights the very best creativity, problem solving and design brilliance across each of IDSA’s five Design Districts. One IDSA student member winner is selected from each district for this prestigious distinction. A total of 5 winners are selected per year.
SMA judging consists of a single round which is conducted entirely online by IDSA and determines the 5 SMA District Winners.
The Graduate SMA program is free to enter and open to graduate-level students who are members of their school’s IDSA Student Chapter. The candidates must be seniors projected to graduate by the end of the fall semester or last quarter of 2020.
Download complete GSMA Rules & Regulations or see below.
Entry and District Winner Selection
- Open entry begins March 9, 2020 and concludes on April 6, 2020.
- The IDSA Education Director will assemble a jury of 11 IDSA members to include: his/herself, 5 practitioners and 5 educators representing all Districts. The jury will review all submitted work from each GSMA candidate and selects a GSMA winner from each of IDSA’s 5 Districts.
- Graduate student members of current IDSA Student Chapters* may participate. Students who are not IDSA members must join as an IDSA student member in order to participate. *A valid Student Chapter has at least five IDSA student members whose faculty advisor to the chapter is a member of the industrial design faculty and an IDSA member.
- GSMA candidates will use IDSA’s online awards platform to complete their submission for review. Submissions will be comprised of:
- Project portfolio detailing up to three (3) projects. These can be individual or group projects (note: please indicate and provide acknowledgement to other designers if showing a group project). PDF format, not to exceed 15 pages in length. Your portfolio should address and display competency in the following areas:
- Your problem statement and design solution
- Your research/design approach
- How your work is forward thinking and unique
- How your work can be implemented in practice/academia
- How your work contributes to advancing the design profession
- Three (3) individual images that best represent the projects in your portfolio, one image per project
- A three (3) minute video statement verbally addressing the following prompts:
- Why did you choose to pursue the profession of industrial design?
- What is your design philosophy/approach?
- Written responses to the following questions:
- How will you use design to change the world?
- What are your career goals for the future?
- What is the future of the industrial design profession?
- All submissions need to be completed by April 6, 2020.
- Jurors must use the evaluation form incorporated into IDSA online awards platform to rate students in the areas of: scope of work, quality of work, quality of thought, visual presentation and verbal presentation.
- The scores will determine the top candidate in each District. If the scores result in a tie, phone/video conference call discussion among District jurors will be conducted in order to choose the GSMA District Winner.
- One student from each District is chosen as a GSMA District Winner.
Winners will be notified on or approximately May 1, 2020.
Each GSMA Winner receives the following:
- A complementary 1-year Young Professional membership to IDSA upon graduation.
- A two-page profile in INNOVATION magazine’s Education Review issue.
- Recognition on IDSA.org with other GSMA Winners.
- A complimentary registration to attend and deliver the winning presentation on stage at the 2020 International Design Conference (travel is not provided).
- A commemorative trophy presented by IDSA Education Director at the International Design Conference.
- A complimentary 1-year Premium Profile placement for their school on IDSA’s ID Schools directory.